An Olympics Dream deferred

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Namibian football 2020 Olympics Dream is stopped in its tracks as the Namibia Football Association (NFA) withdrew the national under-23s side from the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) U23s Qualifiers match against Angola that was supposed to happen on Friday, 16 November.

Namibia were due to visit Angola on 16 November before hosting them on 20 November but by Monday afternoon Football House accommodation area was deserted as the disappointed players were told to go back home after spending about a month in camp.

“We simply don’t have funds to take the team to Angola and it is a very sad situation as you could see the boys we looking forward to this campaign but now it’s all over for them. The money we have now have to be used for the Brave Warriors for this weekend’ game against Guinea Bissau and so the junior teams are feeling the pinch,” explains Secretary General Barry Rukoro.

Rukoro adds that the untenable situation at the NFA with regard to the leadership tussle might and will force the NFA to withdraw the Young Warriors from the upcoming Cosafa U20 Championships in Kitwe, Zambia in December.

“It is serious reputational damage for the Association as we are known to be ever present at almost all youth competitions and now this is happening and we have no choice but to pull the plug. We will still assess the situation with regard to the under20s going to Cosafa Cup”.

The withdrawal of the Under23s will now mean that Angola advance to the second round to face South Africa and in third round; they await the winner of Zimbabwe against either Eswatini vs Mozambique for a place at Egypt 2019. The tournament in Egypt, between 8-22 November in 2019, will see the top three teams qualifying automatically for the 2020 Olympics Games. The fourth-place finisher plays in a play-off against a team from the Asian Football Confederation. Nigeria are the defending champions.

The Namibia under23s side squad consisted of 37 players with the technical team made up of Head Coach Ronnie Kanalelo, First Assistant Coach Quentin Visagie, and Second Assistant Coach Collin Benjamin.